It's the holiday season, which means it's time to kick back, relax and make merry. And what better way to celebrate than combining sweets and alcohol?
Here, then, are seven boozy desserts to get you in the holiday spirit, brought to you by the festive cooks at FOOD52. 'Tis the season - cheers!
- See more dessert recipes on Food52.
- Toast the season with some boozy drink recipes.
- Got a question? The Food52 Hotline is here to help!
I never had a rum ball until I met Merrill. And Merrill knows a good rum ball when she tastes one; she has taught me the finer points of rum ball-dom. A proper rum ball must be dense but moist, and ideally a little gooey. It must sing with booze but shouldn't be too sweet. It should look unpromising and deliver a bang. It turns out that our friend Melissa Clark has just the recipe for such proper rum balls in her terrific new book "In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite." I tasted them at a recent joint book signing I did with Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis ("Baked Explorations"), Melissa Vaughan and Michael Harlan Turkell ("The New Brooklyn Cookbook") and Melissa. Barely a soul showed up, so we sat at the long signing table as if we were on a banquette at Balthazar, and dug into samples of the rum balls (a successful signing in my view). What makes Melissa's rum balls peerless is that she uses Nabisco chocolate wafers, and a little honey to sweeten the "dough." - Amanda Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
In January 1970, The Times published a recipe for brandy Alexander pie. It was an unassuming confection: A graham-cracker crust filled with a wobbly, creamy mousse and enough alcohol to raise the hair on your neck and then make your neck wobbly too. Later that year, Craig Claiborne, then the food editor, declared it one of the paper's three most-requested dessert recipes (the other two were cheesecake and pots-de-creme) and ran it again. Cooking Notes: The chiffon filling will be fluffier if you let the egg whites come to room temperature before whipping. The filling is made by folding whipped egg whites into a base thickened with egg yolks and gelatin. Be careful not to chill the base too much or the filling will be lumpy. Chocolate shaved into curls with a vegetable peeler was once a classy garnish. Why not? - Amanda Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
Amply boozy yet not too sweet, we liked student epicure's unabashed take on the bread pudding. The dessert takes about 5 minutes to put together (not counting 45 minutes of soaking, during which time you can assemble the rest of your meal). And it calls for ingredients that you probably have lying around the house (if you don't have bourbon -- why don't you! -- you can use rum). We see this as the perfect impromptu dinner party dessert. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
This recipe was adapted from one given to me by the pastry chef at Anthos, an excellent Greek restaurant here in New York, for a piece I wrote for The Times. It couldn't be simpler to make, but the results are spectacular -- you use nothing but good quality dark chocolate, a little milk and some heavy cream, ending up with essentially a whipped ganache. Back when I used to make chocolate mousse a lot for dinner parties and catering gigs, I often folded in a splash of Cointreau and some chocolate shards, which I thought gave it some extra oomph. I hope you enjoy it! - Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
When we tasted colombedujour's apple cake, our first thought was: This is an apple cake for grownups. Rich and buttery, delightfully boozy and chock full of tender apple pieces, this cake is a sophisticated ending to a fall meal. The recipe calls for ground almonds instead of flour (we tried regular and blanched almonds, and both were good). Maple sugar, which has the same molasses tones as brown sugar, is drier and helps keep the cake from being soggy. Folding whipped egg whites into the batter (a technique that reminded us of making French macaroons) keeps it from being too dense. We used both an 8-inch and a 9-inch springform and found we liked the results with the 9-inch better. If you do use an 8-inch pan, you may want to cook the cake for a bit longer than suggested so that the fruit is tender throughout. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
Thirschfeld takes a seemingly simple custard tart and layers on the charm. After you slip through the heady, Madeira-laced flan center, you'll hit the soft sandy crunch of the semolina crust and, before you know it, you'll be reaching for another slice. With just eight ingredients and a press-in crust, the process is simple but do take care. Chill your custard thoroughly (overnight if possible) to deepen the Madeira flavor and allow it to warm through gently in the oven. And if your oven runs hot or if you're baking in a dark tart pan, start it at 350. It may take longer to bake, but just watch for that Jell-O jiggle. But even if it does heat up too quickly and bubble on top like ours did the day we shot the photo, have no fear -- it's still delicious, its charm just a bit more rustic (more Mickey Rourke than Scarlett Johansson, in thirschfeld's terms). Amanda loved it served warm; Merrill dug it cooled to room temperature. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
We loved the idea of fondue made with chocolate and cajeta (a close cousin of dulce de leche), and when we saw that hardlikearmour used coconut milk to make her cajeta, well -- there was no holding us back. Her fondue is silken and almost custardy, punctuated with rum and vanilla and generously salted, the way we like caramel to be. Not surprisingly, it is quite rich and sweet, and we found our favorite dipping instrument ended up being salty, extra-dark pretzels. We highly recommend you try the combination. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
Follow Food52 on Twitter: www.twitter.com/food52